by Win Wenger, Ph.D.
Winsights No. 9 (8 June 1997)
One of the Ways YOU Can Learn Like A Genius
Of eight major types of accelerated/enhanced learning presented in one of our recent books, I can give you at least a glimpse of one here. We call it “Periscopic Learning;” also “Borrowed Genius” and a few other things.
How To Learn Through A Periscope–
- We had enrolled our 4-year-old daughter in a neighborhood swim team, not for the sake of competing but simply for safety reasons, to ensure she would be competent in the water. During one of the team’s meets, in one heat a clerical error had her swim as the only small kid among 8, 9 and 10 year olds. To our amazement, she swam far faster than ever before and finished right in the middle of the pack. “How did you do that?!?” we asked her. Her reply: “I made-believe I was one of the big kids.”
- In Camelot, Merlin was working with young King Arthur at a point where Arthur was imagining himself to be a hawk. Asked Merlin of Arthur: “What does the hawk know, that Arthur does not know?” (According to the story, that was when the future king discovered that political boundaries were not visible from above, and resolved to fashion together one England.)
- Like projecting your view through a periscope: let some aspect or part of you “become” a whole, distinct person who happens to be the world’s greatest genius in what you are trying to learn. Through that new vantage point cum periscope, see and understand easily what had been obscure to you before, as the hawk saw what Arthur had not…
- …Just create such genius in the same sense that tribesmen of the Bear Clan wore the heads of bears to better understand the wilderness from which they made their living… A way of learning independently discovered by thousands of human cultures around the world…..
- …Or take the story of one young lad. He was about to “not make” his high school’s baseball team. He worked with us during an hour of “putting on the heads” of his various baseball heroes. He soon discovered through one of those “hero heads” how to get extra focus on the baseball by swinging, not at the baseball itself but at an imaginary flyspeck on that baseball. He made the team; his first ten games he batted 800; at season’s end he was voted MVP by not only his team but his school’s entire league.
- –Or in the same sense that in our very first 1977 experiment which launched Project Renaissance, a secretary starting to take violin lessons leaped from raw beginner to advanced student in two lessons by our special way of “putting on the head” of great violinists. She came by to visit our second experiment three weeks later and gave us a very nice concert. (ALL of us were getting similar results in our chosen areas even before we perfected this method!)
Each of the 47 diverse methods for Periscopic Learning, through Project Renaissance’s strategies of contextual projection and description, enable one to learn with understanding, or gain in skills, years’-worth in only hours: truly “accelerated learning!” Periscopic Learning is only one of eight types of accelerated learning method unique to Project Renaissance. The strongest of these also feature different combinations of Socratic and Einsteinian process.
(Socratic in that one examines, or is led to examine, inner and outer perceptions and to describe in some detail what he or she discovers there. Einsteinian in that one sets mental imagery loose and then, as closely as possible, observes what it does to see what one can discover or learn from what he or she observes. The act of describing what you perceive, a la Socratic practice, reinforces both the particular perception and the behavior of being perceptive. Einsteinian imagery not only comes from where we do our pre-conscious understanding but, being initially subtle, arises in parts of the brain remote from our immediate verbal consciousness. –So that to describe, while examining it, Einsteinian imagery not only reinforces as above, but also reinforces previously unengaged parts of our brain onto line with immediate verbal consciousness, making more and more of whatever is our intelligence, developed or undeveloped, immediately available to us and enriching our life.)
Periscopic learning (where you move your point of view into another focus and look around from there to see and understand what you normally have not been seeing and understanding) first came to our own attention in the work by Vladimir Raikov, as reported in Ostrander and Schroeder’s Psychic Discoveries Behind the Iron Curtain. Students in an art class, each hypnotized into believing he was Rembrandt, sophisticated their art prodigiously. Many years later, I saw videos of Raikov in a music conservatory, working with students each of whom had been hypnotized into believing he was Rachmaninoff and whose piano-playing abruptly went to several “next levels.” I just wish Raikov hadn’t shot himself in the foot by going for stage money when he came briefly to the US a few years ago: I am convinced he knows a lot more than was apparent from his visit.
Fortunately, hypnosis is definitely not needed. Although, it is featured in the Merlin story above, in Raikov’s work in Russia, and in the somewhat similar work by America’s own Dr. Jean Houston (whose work with Hillary Rodham Clinton was so willfully misunderstood by the press). One of Dr. Houston’s students, hypnotized for a few minutes into imagining she was attending a full semester at the world’s leading art academy, came back with her art sophisticated to an extent which suggested that she had. My little daughter in that swim meet certainly never resorted to hypnosis. In all the time I’ve worked with and developed those 47 various “periscopic learning” techniques, only twice have I ever resorted to using hypnosis as an experiment, and clearly found that such effects are far harder to achieve by hypnosis than by our totally hypnosis-free Project Renaissance methods. Sorry to take some of the romance out of the field, but that is our experience.
With or without hypnosis, the fact remains that by the stronger of these periscopic learning methods, and by each of our seven other main types of accelerated learning method combining Socratic and Einsteinian principles, one may easily learn in several days, sometimes in only hours, and with far fuller understanding, proficiencies which otherwise conventionally require arduous years to build. –Especially in the sciences and in most of the humanities – and, oddly enough, athletics, where kinesthetic understanding is involved. Understanding is the key here: these are not memorization techniques. These methods are not especially helpful in courses whose contents are mainly the memorization of things, especially the temporary memorization for tests and then forgetting, which typifies far too many classes and classrooms today. Don’t turn to our kind of method if what you aim is to memorize something for a test.
I hope that a few of those reading this still put a positive value on understanding.